When the technician said, “It doesn’t hurt as much as they say,” while she compacted my left breast into a buckwheat pancake, it occurred to me that men would never put up with this. Especially if it involved something of a similarly stretchable consistency and integral to their idea of man-ness.
I’m of course talking about the penis.
If men had to put their members through what we women have to put our twins through, there would be a new mode of testing right quick.
Guy A: We really want to make sure we can see all the tissue clearly…
Guy B: What about a normal X-ray? (Author’s note: This, by the way, is what they do for penises.)
Guy A: What if we stretched it out between two cold plates of glass and then slowly compressed it until it was wafer thin?
All Guys in Room: LOLOLOLOL
Guy A: LOL! Of course we’ll just do an x-ray!
Yes, all my researchers are men. Because, patriarchy.
But say Guy A wasn’t kidding. Say all men over 40 had to take a peniogramTM every year.
It might look something like this:
Let’s call our patient, well, Dick.
Dick checks in for his peniogramtm, stating the reason for his visit in quiet tones, mildly embarrassed by the women in the waiting room giving him furtive glances over year-old Oprah magazines.
He sits, and surprisingly, only makes it through the ad section of Sport’s Illustrated before he’s called back. He’s mildly disappointed, because he wanted to read that one article on LeBron.
“Is this your first time?” The male technician says with a practiced, emotionless smile.
Dick nods and follows the tech to what could be a late 80’s Banana Republic dressing room.
“Take off your clothes and put on a robe…”
The tech walks away, then stops to shout back, nary a care for who might overhear.
“Did you put on any lotions or Gold Balm down there?”
Dick, halfway behind his curtain, turns pale.
“If you did, just use the moist towelettes to clean yourself off.”
Dick obeys, unwrapping a one-by-one inch square of alcohol doused rice paper. He can’t quite decide to be proud that he needs seven of them to do the job, or if he should be concerned that his Buddy is recoiling into his body, turtle like.
Blessedly, the tech is back before Dick is forced to flash the second waiting room full of similarly sheepish looking men all in Daisy Duke hospital robes.
“Are you nervous?” The tech asks, again with that Gap Greeter smile.
“Well, it doesn’t hurt as much as they say.”
Chuckles all around.
Once in the exam room, Dick confronts a large metal machine, its cold, open maw waiting. He shuffles forward as instructed.
The tech opens Dick’s robe and, without warning or any Barry White music, yanks on his still frightened penis.
“Just breathe, you’re doing fine. I just need to get the right position.” Ha! He’s heard that before…Yank. “Closer please.” Twist. “Can you slouch a bit?” Roll, squish. “OK, don’t move or we’ll have to do this again.”
The jaws of the beast close, holding his Friend in its frigid embrace.
This actually isn’t too bad...
“You might feel some slight pressure now.”
The tech is all business, as the glacial glass panels press tighter and tighter. Dick sucks in his breath.
The machine clamps harder, flattening his noodle thinner than a Parisian crepe. Surely this machine will pull his penis off. No seriously, it is pulling his penis off. He will never have sex again. Or pee properly.
The machine beeps, releases.
“See, that wasn’t so bad.”
Are you m-fing kidding me?
“Three more to go!”
Finally, mercifully, the flattening is finished.
“You’ll be a little sore the rest of the day and maybe tomorrow.” The tech is too chipper.
Dick’s dick is twenty times more sore than when he went through puberty - and his whole drawer full of tube socks.
“And, just so you know, on your first time, they may call you back because they’re not used to what your tissue looks like.”
Yeah, that disease your best friend was just diagnosed with and just killed your other friend? The one that had two of your friends having preventative peniosectomies because their risk was so high and they have little kids and are frightened bald to leave them fatherless? That disease? We’re probably gonna f-up and make you think you have it for a week or so, just about the time your penis stops feeling like Mr. Gadget’s. But ya know, were just getting to know your tissue. Chuckles again.
And for the next week, Dick obsessively looks to his phone, willing the clinic not to call.
American Cancer Society; National Breast Cancer Foundation